One of the many fond memories that I have of my college years were the times when my roommates and I got to hang out together. We had quite the enjoyable brotherhood. All of us were believers, we all enjoyed playing and watching sports, and valued a good laugh. One of our weekly activities had to do with music. On Sunday nights, we would usually all be at our apartment eating junk food and watching Sunday Night Football together before the new week came upon us. Either during halftime of the game or at the conclusion of the evening, we would all focus in on our first group project that would set the tone for the days ahead…it was time to select the Song of the Week. The Song of the Week was something we implemented early in our relationship where we would settle on one particular song that we would treat with special honor. It would be expected that this song would be played constantly and consistently throughout the week. Over and over again this song would be on repeat and we would jam out to it. By the week’s end, we knew the ins and outs of this musical masterpiece. It was stuck in our heads. Sometimes, I still find myself hopping and bopping to a song from weeks’ past.
What is your Song of the Week? Has there been a tune that has been constantly popping up in your head that causes you to break out in song at random times throughout the day? If I had to pick one for this week, it would probably be Way Maker. We have been singing this the past several weeks in church and I have grown quite fond of it. One of the powerful aspects of music and song is the reality that our brains can tend to gravitate toward remembering lyrics set to a beat and rhythm. When we constantly hear something or are constantly singing something in our heads or out loud, we are cementing that image or words within our memories for quicker and longer-lasting recall. Maybe you can think of other examples of things you remember from long ago through some phonetic device?
This week, we wrap up our series on Pentecost with a quick look at the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Colossae. Paul is seeking to help guide their understanding and growth in the Lord by repeating to them some of the essentials of the Christian faith. It is in this repetition and invitation to remember that their continual development and growth can take place. For Paul, these brothers and sisters in Christ are constantly on his mind. He writes that he constantly prays for them and he continually asks God to continue to grow in them a love and knowledge of Him as their Savior. In a world that can throw a lot at us as believers, we too are invited to rest in the reminders that Paul is deliver to them. We are invited to be reassured of our standing with God. We are invited to have His song of grace on repeat in our lives as we go about our day-to-day activities. This is a song that is not just meant to last for a week, but for a lifetime. The song of the Gospel is truly the song that never ends.
Can you remember a time when you reached the end of a long, hard day and you just felt like slipping into sweatpants and sitting in front of the TV for an hour? Maybe you spent the day at work, or running kids to practice or lessons, raking leaves, making meals, going, going, going until you were spent of all energy reserves. Do you remember how great it felt to relax? How amazing it felt to just allow the deep cushions of your couch to envelop you and the ease of a good show or book lull you into a state of comforted bliss?
Or perhaps you can you remember other times when you worked really hard on completing a task and the feeling you had after it was done? Maybe it was a science project at school, or a presentation at work? Perhaps it was an item around the house or the yard that you finally got to check off your list. Do you remember the rewarding satisfaction and sense of achievement that you felt? The accomplished sigh as you admired your hard work and dedication to seeing this through?
Hopefully, we can all relate to both of these instances as we have probably experienced them a time or two throughout the years of our lives. We all have felt the euphoria of relaxing and taking it easy and we have all felt the gratification of a job well done and a hard day’s work. But this is where being a human being can become downright humorous and ridiculous. Like many things in our lives, we can be tempted to idolize anything. You may have heard it said that we are “idol-making factories.” No matter what it might be, we can be tempted to turn it into something that reframes our priorities and devotion in some unhealthy ways. Even if it is good in nature, we can find a way to twist it the wrong way and throw it out of balance. We are funny people, aren’t we?
This idolizing of work and free time is nothing new. We may struggle with it in different ways living in today’s world, but this is much of the same struggle that the Apostle Paul was pointing out to the Church in Thessalonica. In the third chapter of his second letter to them, Paul takes some time to implore those who have a misplaced view on what it means to take it easy. The reality was that this group was taking things too easy and not viewing work in the proper perspective. The easy thought that some might have had would be to simply work harder or work more but that leads us to the other extreme of viewing work in ways that it was not meant to be.
Whether you have tendencies of a workaholic or an idler, God’s Word still speaks to set us free. It spoke to the Christians living in Thessalonica and it speaks to us as believers at Oak Hill Church. God’s Word defines and redefines work and rest in the best way. He alone can help us in our temptation to lean toward one extreme or the other or have disdain for those on the opposite end of you or me. God uses work to bless us and rest to rejuvenate us and His example gives us confidence to truly live our lives under His guiding Hand. As Paul writes in our text for this week: And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good…May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. What a good reminder for all of us, whether it is in our sweatpants or work gloves.
I love how different seasons of life offer us new and renewed perspectives on various situations and circumstances of which we once might not have thought too highly. One of these examples for me comes from something that I will be experiencing again this weekend. By the time the sun rises on Saturday morning, I hope to be sitting in solitude in the middle of the woods. I will be dressed in blaze orange, have a couple of books, some snacks, and be ever watchful and waiting for anything that moves. Who knows? Maybe I will even see a deer or two…unless they happen to walk by while I’m napping.
I mention this example because I can remember my 12-year old self not finding much interest in just sitting in the woods for hours on end in the cold watching and waiting for nothing that came by. I would look at my dad and wonder how he could just enjoy doing this for hours. I had so many things to do. I had so many other activities that I could be doing instead of just sitting here. Most of the time I could not wait until we got to go back. But the older I get, the wiser I get too, and this means a renewed perspective and appreciation for exactly what my dad did. Now, I have no problem sitting alone in the woods for hours just watching, thinking, and processing the things around me. I enjoy thinking about the life, family, and friends that God has blessed me with, and I guarantee that you all will be on my mind as I ponder life with a thankful heart. Even if I don’t see a thing move but a few squirrels, the time will be well worth it.
I wanted to take a quick opportunity to provide a highlight and update from this past Sunday. For those of you that were with us this past week, we focused a portion of our worship service highlighting and updating you on our 3rd Quarter Allocation for Overflowing Hope. If you remember from the beginning of the year, as a congregation, we committed to supporting 4 quarterly projects that went to financially support ministries that enhanced the sharing and spreading of the Gospel. The first two quarters involved us allocating $7,500 to help fund a well-drilling business in Chad and $8,000 to help support the training and living expenses of a brand-new Chadian missionary couple to the Fulbe for their first year. This quarter, we are allocating $8,000 to Inspiration Point Bible Camp to help outfit and prepare the beach and waterfront at their new second location: Twin Oaks. Twin Oaks was purchased within the past year as the need for more space was becoming an issue at the Spitzer Lake campus. Hundreds of campers had to be turned away each summer, leaving many without this valuable opportunity to experience Jesus at summer camp.
Through your generosity and support of Overflowing Hope, these funds will go toward supporting a vital piece of Inspiration Point’s ministry that seeks to bring people one step closer in their walk with Christ. The waterfront serves as a gateway to this next step as hundreds of conversations happen on boats and benches surrounding God’s creation where campers and counselors engage in meaningful discussions about life and God’s role within it. Thank you again for your support of this ministry. It will be a true joy to see and hear how God will use these funds to help grow His Kingdom.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette